George Nettles, Denver CO – I came across this thought provoking article by Kyle Crider, from the NAR Green REsource Council, that sustainability should become a normal habit instead of a goal, so to speak.
By Kyle Crider, July 24, 2013 –
“To maintain the P/PC Balance, the balance between the golden egg (production) and the health and welfare of the goose (production capability) is often a difficult judgment call. But I suggest it is the very essence of effectiveness.” –Stephen Covey, “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”
Dr. Stephen Covey has mentored many of us in business with his classic “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” and his other tomes on leadership. But have we noted that Covey’s production/production capability (P/PC) balance is also another definition for ecological sustainability?
In his 7 Habits, Dr. Covey uses the well-known fable of the goose that laid golden eggs to illustrate the concept of P/PC balance. In the fable, greedy farmers, no longer content with a regular supply of golden eggs, kill the producing goose in hopes of obtaining all the treasure they believe to be contained inside. Of course, all they accomplish is an abrupt end to all future golden eggs. The moral is that production must be balanced with production capability. Killing the goose (PC) ends the golden eggs (P).
What a marvelous analogy to what we are doing to our planet. Studies from the original Limits to Growth onward have shown how we are exceeding our planet’s production capability in almost every manner. For example, according to “The Encyclopedia of the Earth“:
“Humanity’s impact on the biosphere’s structures (e.g., land cover) and functioning (e.g., biogeochemical cycles) is considerable. It exceeds natural variability in many cases. Sanderson and others have classified up to 83 percent of the global terrestrial biosphere as being under direct human influence, based on geographic proxies such as human population density, settlements, roads, agriculture and the like; another study, by Hannah et al., estimates that about 36 percent of the Earth’s bioproductive surface is “entirely dominated by man.”
Habitat loss. Species extinctions. Overharvesting. Overgrazing, soil erosion and desertification. Depletion of groundwater. The list goes on and on, but can be summed up as one big drain on our planet’s production capability. The goose that lays our golden eggs is dying the death of a thousand cuts.
Clearly we need to bring our global P/PC equation into better balance. That means that each of us must take some responsibility, as well as some action. Taking inspiration from Covey and others in leadership literature, I have been advocating to my Intro to Sustainability online course students that they should create a personal/professional sustainability vision, mission, and top three goals document. In other words, I am trying to turn an introductory sustainability course into an environmental leadership course.
“If you adopt a pattern of life that focuses on golden eggs and neglects the goose, you will soon be without the asset that produces golden eggs.” –Stephen Covey, “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”
“Copyright NAR’s Green REsource Council. Reprinted from GreenREsourceCouncil.org with permission”
*George Nettles is an Associate Broker with Brokers Guild Cherry Creek in Denver, CO. He is the founder of www.LuxuryHomesInDenver.com and Denver’s Luxury Home Team. He can be reached at 303-981-7282 or [email protected]